Maryland Postpones All Obamacare Small Business Forums
10:51 AM, Oct 21, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The state of Maryland has been front and center on the launch of open enrollment through the new Obamacare insurance marketplaces on October 1. The week before the launch, President Obama joined Maryland governor Martin O'Malley in Largo, Maryland to boost public awareness of the marketplaces, and he said that if "every governor were working as hard as Governor O’Malley to make the Affordable Care Act work," even more Americans would reap its benefits.
But even as the state concentrates on working on the problems of signing up Marylanders for individual policies, another deadline is approaching. The Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) is scheduled to kick off January 1, 2014 with coverage to start as early as March. And in the case of businesses, not only will the marketplace function as a place to select coverage, but will be responsible for billing employers and collecting payments on an ongoing basis; the money will then be remitted to the various insurers by SHOP. (Individuals can choose to pay the initial payment through the marketplace or directly to the insurer, but all future billings and payments are between the individual and the insurer.) Elizabeth Charlow, communications manager for SHOP in Maryland, confirmed this in a September email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD:
To help businesses in Maryland prepare for their more complex relationships with the marketplace, the Maryland Health Connection had scheduled multiple public forums on SHOP throughout the state. On October 4, the Maryland Chamber Action Network published the following on its website:
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